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Highway of Horror

Writer: Tony Bedard

Artists: Nick Bell, Karl Moline, et. al.

Publisher: CrossGen

Synopsis: Cassie Starkweather sees dead people. Well, she used to, until she spent a few years in an insane asylum. Now she's a normal girl attending college...until her best friend dies in a terrible accident. Suddenly her power has returned, and she has to watch as two nebulous creatures drag her friend's ghost into another dimension and along a mysterious highway called Route 666. Now she's being forced to bust out of an asylum and go on the lam against horror-movie monsters that look human but aren't, and to make matters worse, the police think she's a serial killer.

How Is It?: With a trepidatious gasp of breath, I plunged into the "CrossGen universe" with this title. And emerged...not unimpressed, though I'm glad I didn't pay for this one. Still, this doesn't seem like the best place to jump in, neccessarily. Anyway, Route 666 is billed as a horror comic, yet it's not that fact, it's borderline kitschy at times. Dracula and the wolfman aren't really that scary anymore, nor are chattering black blobs with Russian accents. (Excuse me--RHODIAN accents. This is all set in some alternate world where the names are slightly different.) The title's central conceit--that there are monsters all around, only you can see them, and everyone else thinks you're nuts--is still pretty effective, but it's a tad on the hoary side. Still...for all these gripes, the story is done quite effectively, and the art is (though a bit generic) very well-done. And I'll admit I'm curious about what "the Bell Jar" is, or where Highway 666 leads. Also, a plotline involving "The Railsplitter" features a clever twist. While I don't forsee myself plunking down cash for this unless it gets a LOT more interesting, neither is it a bad way to while away a couple of hours.

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